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Courtroom Cameras

Reporters Will Be Able to Live-Tweet Sandusky Trial

Journalists won’t be allowed to record the sex-abuse trial of Jerry Sandusky but they will be able to live-tweet it.

According to a court order issued on Wednesday, journalists will be allowed to tweet and blog as they attend the trial, which is set to begin next week.

Local news stations WJAC and WTAJ will each have one reserved seat in the courtroom, and will be able to use smart phones and laptops during the trial, although they will not be allowed to record or broadcast “any verbatim account of the proceedings while court is in session.” Read more

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WOIO Reporter Defends Station’s Puppet Coverage of High-Profile Trial

WOIO reporter Dan DeRoos is defending his station’s use of puppets to cover a high-profile trial.

“If someone had written a script–a movie script–about some of the testimony that we have heard… you’d never believe it in a million years,” DeRoos, who has been covering the trial for WOIO, told NPR in a recent interview.

DeRoos was quick to point out that WOIO’s “The Puppet’s Court” is not the only way that the station is covering the trial.

“At no point do we want anyone to think that this is how we’re covering this major corruption trial,” DeRoos said. “This is supplemental coverage.” Read more

WOIO Using Puppets to Cover High-Profile Trial

Faced with a ban on recording devices in the courtroom, Cleveland CBS-affiliate WOIO has turned to an unconventional method for covering a high-profile trial that’s currently underway: puppets.

Local media outlets have been closely following the trial of Jimmy Dimora, a former county commissioner charged with racketeering, since it began last week.  While its rivals have used the conventional mix of courtroom sketches and generic b-roll to illustrate the case, WOIO has opted to recreate events in the trial with puppets that look like they’ve been borrowed from a local children’s show.

WOIO news director Dan Salamone told The Plain Dealer this week that the station’s use of puppets was an attempt to provide a fresh perspective while also highlighting some of the “circus-like” aspects of the trial. Read more

At the Request of WFSB, Judge Will Allow Media To Hear 9-Year-Old’s Testimony in Home Invasion Case

Connecticut Superior Court Judge Jon Blue will allow media and spectators to be present in the courtroom for the videotaped testimony of Joshua Komisarjevsky‘s 9-year-old daughter, at the request of lawyers and representatives for local New Haven media outlets, including WFSB.

Komisarjevsky was found guilty last month on 17 counts of murder, burglary, kidnapping, sexual assault and arson stemming from a 2007 home invasion in Cheshire, CT. A hearing to determine if he will face the dealth penalty is currently underway, and his 9-year-old daughter will present video testimony in the case.

Lawyers for WFSB, as well as the New Haven Register and the Hartford Courant, wanted the footage presented in open court, while attorneys for the child wanted media to be banned from seeing the video. Read more

Fox’s Michael Jackson Doctor Trial App Tops iTunes

Fox Television Stations’ Michael Jackson Doctor Trial app, which was released Monday for iPhones, iPads and Android devices, ranked number one yesterday among paid apps on the Apple store.

Content on the 99-cent smartphone app is produced by KTTV, the Fox owned-and-operated station in Los Angeles. In addition to a live video stream from the trial, which began in LA yesterday, users can also browse photo galleries and biographies of the key players. Read more

With High-Profile Trial Set to Begin in Pittsburgh, Local Stations See Hope for Courtroom Cameras

Cameras will be allowed in the courtroom during the trial of Richard Poplawski, a Pittsburgh man accused of killing three police officers. Although, much to the chagrin of local stations, the high-profile case will only air on closed circuit TVs made available for the expected overflow crowd of spectators.

While the case will only be broadcast within the courthouse, many see it as a potential catalyst for change in Pennsylvania, a state that has long barred cameras in the courtroom.

The court’s decision to allow closed circuit TVs comes as the Orlando trial of Casey Anthony continues to draw a huge TV audience, a connection that is not lost on WPXI news director Mike Goldrick.

“We’d love to have cameras in the courtroom. Look at the Casey Anthony case in Florida — there’s so much interest in that case,” Goldrick told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Local TV stations are running that trial as if they were Court TV. Cameras in the courtroom would certainly benefit the community.”

Minnesota Supreme Court Issues Test Period for Cameras in the Courtroom

The Minnesota Supreme Court has instituted a two-year test period to examine the use of cameras in the courtroom.

While the high court struck down a petition by several local news organizations to revise the state’s restrictions on recording devices in district courts for criminal cases, the test period, which will begin July 1st, will allow for the audiovisual recording of some civil cases.

Beginning in July, video cameras, still cameras, and other recording devices will be allowed into the courtrooms of certain civil cases, pending a judge’s approval.

“I hope we the media can build some trust in a judiciary that has some serious concerns about cameras and recording devices,” KARE news director Tom Lindner told the Associated Press. “We really are quite good at doing this and not interfering with people’s rights. We’d like to be able to show that.” Read more

South Dakota Supreme Court Expands Media Access in Courtrooms

The South Dakota Supreme Court has approved new rules that will expand media access in courtrooms.

The new rules stipulate that audio recordings are permitted upon a judge’s approval and still and video cameras will be allowed if both the prosecution and defense, as well as the judge, agree to allow them.  The court’s ruling is seen as a compromise between the state’s judges and local media outlets, which had pushed for video cameras only having to pass a judge’s approval.

“We believe this is a middle path between an outright ban and total access,” said Supreme Court Justice David Gilbertson. “We need to balance a person’s right to a fair trial with the public access to the legal proceedings.”

“We are very encouraged by this decision,” said RTDNA Chairman Mark Kraham. “It’s certainly a step in the right direction in giving the citizens of South Dakota and the United States a chance to take a closer look at the U.S. legal system.”

Las Vegas Stations Cover Dramatic Courtroom Outburst in Trial of Slain Dancer

In Las Vegas, a shared courtroom camera captured a dramatic, expletive-laden outburst from the sister of murdered dancer Debbie Flores-Narvaez, leaving area stations scrambling to individually cover the latest development in a case that has received national attention.

Celeste Flores Narvaez, the older sister of the slain dancer, interrupted court proceedings on Wednesday morning when she began screaming obscenities at Jason Griffith, the man accused of the murder. “I hope you rot in hell,” she yelled repeatedly.

Celeste held an impromptu press conference following the outburst and said that she was not expecting to see Griffith in court that morning.  “I will do whatever it takes to take him down,” she said pointedly.

Here’s how the local stations covered the outburst…

NBC-affiliate KSNV:

Read more